In Act III, Scene 5 of Much Ado About Nothing, what are Leonato's thoughts while he is on the way to Hero's wedding?

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Karen P.L. Hardison eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Much Ado About Nothing, on the morning of Hero's intended wedding to Claudio, Leonato is finishing his preparations and just about to leave when he is accosted by Dogberry and Verges who attempt to claim Leonato's attention to give two prisoners their examination to obtain their evidence. Leonato admonishes Dogberry and Verges to take the examination themselves as he must leave. They importune (urge) Leonato, but he holds firm and is both bemused by them ("Indeed ... he comes too short of you") and curtly hasty ("Neighbours, you are tedious") because he is feeling the rush of his wedding day preparations ("I must leave you"). He finally adjures them to take on the responsibility of the examination just as a messenger enters to say that the wedding party is all gathered and awaiting his presence: "My lord, they stay for you to give your daughter to / her husband." At which point Leonato exits with the messenger and proceeds on his way to church.

In these circumstances, Leonato may be thinking of three different things. He may be thinking about what blundering men Dogberry and Verges are with their "auspicious" prisoner and their "suffigance" and wondering about the crime of the prisoners. Or he may be thinking about how he regrets having been delayed so long that Hero had to send a messenger for him, possibly worrying her and disturbing her wedding day joy. Or he may have been thinking about his joy combined with Hero's at the upcoming happy nuptial about to take place. Or, depending on how far away the chapel is, he may have been thinking of all in succession or in a simultaneous jumbled chaos. What is clear is that when he gets to the church, he requires Friar Francis to "be brief" and give only the short, or "plain form," of marriage while reserving the instruction in the bride and grooms "particular duties" for afterward.

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Much Ado About Nothing

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